Participation society plan flops, fewer people get the help they need: SCP


The government’s efforts to decentralise social work and encourage more people to ‘participate’ in society by picking up care-related jobs once done by officialdom, have not achieved their aim, the socio-cultural think-tank SCP said on Monday.

The decentralisation programme has not led to more people with disabilities entering the regular workforce, boosted efficiency in the social work sector or encouraged more people to care for their friends and family, the SCP said in a critical report.

‘The expectations from the new strategy were too high, particularly those about self-reliance and a more caring society,’ the SCP said. ‘Local authorities are not getting better results than national government.’

The SCP said there have been some improvements. ‘Nevertheless it is worrying that some vulnerable groups seem to have drawn the short straw,’ the report said.

‘People who need light domestic help are more likely to get help than others because it is cheaper… youngsters with complex problems face long waiting lists and there are fewer job opportunities for people with special needs.’

The decentralisation process involved encouraging people to become more reliant on friends and family for the help and was based around three major pieces of legislation.

‘But it is the very people who ask for help who cannot sort it out themselves,’ the SCP said. ‘And people often find it difficult to ask others to help them. There has been no increase in the number of carers since the decentralisation programme began.’

The transfer of jobs from national to local government was coupled with budget cuts but councils have not been able to do the work as cheaply as thought. Red tape has been another under-estimated problem.

‘In 2015 people had all sorts of great ideas, but in practice they have not succeeded,’ researcher Mariska Kromhout told the Volkskrant. The state, she said, needs to take urgent action. ‘Doing nothing is not an option.’

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